When Chris Hall got the first points of overtime, he got energized.
As it turned out, that little boost from those two free throws kicked his game into gear at just the right time.
The Lakeside senior thrilled the home crowd in the Panthers’ home-opener Friday night, scoring the first 11 points of overtime in a 55-44 win over Grovetown.
“I tried to bring my team back,” said Hall, who had a game-high 28 points. “I just kept my rhythm going. It just came to me.
“(My teammates) were looking for me, and it all came through.”
The Warriors scored their final two points of the extra period on C.J. Cooper’s jumper with less than a minute to go.
But by that point, Hall had already won it with his aggressive play.
When he wasn’t scoring on layups after drives into the lane, Hall was drawing contact and going to the line.
The season-opener for both teams took on a low-scoring, defensive quality early, and it stayed that way throughout.
Grovetown used its athleticism and stifling defense to counter Lakeside’s early advantage and get out to a 22-19 halftime lead.
Until overtime, neither team led by more than six points. The game was tied 30-30 after three quarters and 42 apiece at the end of regulation.
Khallid Wright led the Warriors with 18 points.
The sophomore gave his team a one-point lead on a jumper with 1:33 left in regulation.
Hall responded with a short baseline jumper.
Then Cooper made one of two free throws with 35 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
In the girls game, sophomore point guard Malia Kency started the season with a bang in Grovetown’s 57-41 win over Lakeside.
Kency used a variety of tools – 3-pointers, runners in the lane, and drives to the basket – to score 22 points in the first half. The Warriors led 36-23 at halftime.
She had only one point after the break, but that was just fine with head coach Jaime Echols.
“She came out in the second half wanting to get some other people involved, and she did that,” he said. “I thought she was an all-around player and just a great point guard tonight.”
Savannah Mydell had 11 points and Rosalyan Talley added 10 for Lakeside.
Both teams have big shoes to fill this season after the graduation of key seniors.
Grovetown lost star forward Ebony Wells, while Lakeside lost standout guards Tishal Turknett and Carolyn Hennecken.